If you Don’t Start, You can’t Fail – Seth Godin

If you look at fear as a learning opportunity and walk right into the face of it you may just be surprised by what you find. Check this out.

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2013/08/if-you-dont-start-you-cant-fail.html

A lot of things can cause anxiety and stress because some things are truly important. If it isn’t life threatening, walk into it because if you don’t you can’t even learn from your failure.

Turn Fear into Opportunity

What are you Afraid of?

Fear plays a significant role in our lives by helping us identify legitimate physical and emotional threats. Many time though, we can feel afraid of situations that are not life threatening. The presentation you have to give this week isn’t life threatening. The meeting with your boss isn’t either.

If you’re anything like me, sometimes you do things that add stress to your life unintentionally. I make a conscious choice to deviate from my plan and it means that whatever was displaced then has to be accomplished later. It’s different from procrastination in that I have made the decision to do something that wasn’t planned knowing that it will involve sacrifice. Even though I know that, I can be disappointed in myself if I don’t follow up and get my plan accomplished.

What separates people that succumb to the anxiety and stress from those that effectively cope and get through is often simple self talk. Something you can say to yourself (in your head) when you feel those tell tale signs that trigger our fear. Find a message that you can tell yourself that will get you back on track. At times one simple deviation can turn into a flood of negative feeling and subsequent unproductive behavior all based on the initial fear of what you were facing. 

Accepting the behavior and coming up with a mantra that you can recite to yourself helps bridge the gap back to peace and calm. 
KeepCalmCarryOn1

Is it Your Perspective?

When you’re afraid, its nothing more than an opportunity to learn and grow. When you expose yourself or your work to public scrutiny it can be very frightening. Instead of dreading feedback, look forward to it as an chance to improve. You’re about to receive critical information to make your work that much better. When people give you information, its a gift. We all have moments when we produce a dud, it happens. The more we screw up, the more we learn how not to let it happen again. It makes you stronger.

Let’s say you’ve just delivered  a workshop and everyone simply walked out to their next event or speaker. You haven’t learned anything. Now if you get feedback about how it was hard to see your slides, you’ve learned how to improve the presentation next time. Granted, the feedback is not always that simple to take. Sometimes it hurts. If that’s the case, it may take some soul searching and honesty with yourself though it is still an opportunity to get better.

Can you think of a situation you were “afraid” of that ended up turning into an opportunity to learn? Share it with us.

Next time you feel that lump in your throat think about embracing it. Step up to the podium and look forward to hearing feedback, in fact I dare you to ask for it.

Practice

prac·tice

verb ˈprak-təs

: to do something again and again in order to become better at it

: to do (something) regularly or constantly as an ordinary part of your life

I am proud of myself because I didn’t think I was going to be able to find time to blog today and then I drove by Starbucks and decided to sit and write. Today’s entry is short and sweet but I am practicing making my blog a habit.


hab·it

noun ˈha-bət

: a usual way of behaving : something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way

Miracles for the day

1) The amazing friends I have. I had an amazing breakfast and got to play golf with two great friends and made a new friend today. Then I was able to attend break fast for Yom Kippur with wonderful friends that have made me feel like part of their family.

2) The way my children just want to be good at things that are difficult like learning to play an instrument.

3) Sunny September days in the 70’s.

Gratitude is a Practice

There is a lot of information about reinventing yourself. Self help books are everywhere. Magazines are constantly telling us how to do all the things that we think will make us look and feel better. 

Reading a book or magazine may be temporarily motivating but it takes practice to turn that motivation into something substantial. I read to learn and often I feel excited by the possibilities that I imagine. In my experience it can just as quickly turn to disappointment if I don’t follow through. 

Gratitude is a practice.

Gratitude

James Altucher writes in his blog “The Altucher Confidentiial” that it’s important to connect the mundane with the miraculous. He goes on to say that he makes a list of 10 miracles in his life every day. I’m sure that it didn’t start that way. At one point in time he decided to start making a list of miracles as a practice. 

Read his blog and tell him your miracles and then please come back here and tell me.

A few of my miracles:

1) My daughter told me after the first day of school that she “thinks this is going to be the best year ever” There is no better feeling than to hear the excitement in your children’s words.

2) My son starts guitar lessons today and I was able to change my work schedule so I can take him.

3) I learned that a friend was written up in a local magazine and I woke up to an email with a link to the article this morning. Farming Inside the Box

This can become a habit because thinking about the miracles in your life makes you feel happy.

Please take the time to write about your miracles because you will feel better if you do.

The Three Most Important Things not on your to do list

TodolistChances are that the average person’s “To Do” list includes various work related tasks, a few personal errands, maybe someone’s birthday or family related responsibilities. Are you like most of the people who put themselves at the end of the list of things to take care of? 

The top of your to do list should read, in fact, 3M should make post its that have these three items at the top followed by several empty lines.

  1. Eat nutrient dense food
  2. Hydrate
  3. Sleep

Nutrient dense food will be more filling and provide your body with much needed energy. The very basics you should aim for 

Proper hydration improves the way your body functions by facilitating oxygen and nutrient transport to all the cells of our body.

  • Aim for 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water every day

Sleeping more than 6 hours a night may improve

Once something becomes a habit it is simple, it’s something you just do. Adequate preparation is the key to nourishing yourself. When you eat well, properly hydrate and get enough rest, you are more productive.

I said simple, not easy.

When we fail to adequately prepare we rely on our over tired, undernourished body to remember what we need/want to get done. We rely heavily on caffeine and fast food, eat on the run and grab what we can whenever we can and develop undesirable habits.

Starting as soon as you can, prioritize the three things that will make the rest of your to do list more attainable. In his book “The Power of Less” Leo Babauta says break long term goals into actionable daily or weekly steps and focus on one thing at a time.

Start putting nutrition, hydration or sleep goals on your “to do” list and you’ll be on your way to creating good habits and greater productivity today.  
 

We’re Going Streaking!

How we spend our “free” time is a choice. “But I don’t have any free time,” you say. We may like to think we don’t, but even the busiest people find time for the things they love.
 
I know from my own experience that when I am productive I feel good, I’m filled with positive energy and optimism. Conversely when I am unproductive I feel badly and my head can fill with self directed frustration. 
 
Our lives are filled with good times and bad. I’ve heard hundreds of stories about great achievements that require focus and discipline. I’ve heard thousands of rationalizations, reasons, and excuses why something didn’t happen. I’ve made my share of them so I include my own achievements and excuses among the group.
 
Every person has their own definition of productivity and it can vary substantially. 
 
Here’s a few examples of things that make me feel energized.
spending time with my family and kids
getting a good night sleep
reading
exercise
eating nutritious food
sharing a client breakthrough
 
What makes you feel productive? Do you know? Make a list of 10 things that fill you with energy and optimism? Once you have that list, figure out how many of them you have time, or can make time for. The goal should be to make the list as long as possible and fit as many items as possible from the list into your life. 
 
My point here is that you have a choice. Knowing what makes you feel good is the first step. Next choose something both important to you and realistic and start a streak. There’s an mobile phone app called “streaks” with a calendar that tracks how many days in a row you’ve done something. Making that checkmark is like a little victory every day.
 
In his book “The Power of Less” Leo Babauta recommends focusing on one thing at a time. Start with one thing and see it through. Most likely everything on the list is important to you but start with one.
 
The longer your streak the better your feel so what are you waiting for? Make your list and START STREAKING TODAY!!!
 

Free Yourself from the Prison in your Mind.

UnknownSo I read a blog by 33 Unusual Tips to Being a Better Writer by James Altucher becayse I read about him in a book I liked and I don’t want to totally suck at blogging.  Tip number 1; take out the first and last paragraph. Tip 2; “Take a huge bowel movement every day.” No joke, that’s tip number 2. Technically they aren’t numbered but that is the second one and if you think about it, its really tip 1 after we remove the first paragraph. More on this in a minute because tip 3 is the crux, “Bleed a little in the first line.” Let’s assume that I’ve already taken out the first paragraph and this is the first line.

Ok, here I go.

I’m afraid to do what I need to do in order to avoid my fear of failure but I’m even more afraid to stay right where I am. I’m happy to share my ideas with those closest to me yet so afraid to put myself out there into that proverbial abyss that is what everybody thinks. One of the tips is “Don’t be afraid of what other people think.” Ha, according to Altucher, you lose 1% of the quality of your writing for each person  you worry about. Ok, maybe that’s a “fraidy cat’s” way of bleeding because I don’t feel over exposed.

Take 2; I’m a personal trainer. I’m an expert with certifications to prove it. I know the secrets of how to be “healthy.” Believe me, its not really a secret, its just hard to do. I guide, coach, listen, care for, remind people all the time to take care of themselves and I do it well. Here’s the blood, I have stopped doing that for myself.

Previous habits that helped me finally win my lifelong battle with obesity have become a challenge and I am tired of it. In his book “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depended on It,” Kamal Ravikant calls it coasting. We work so hard to achieve something and once we feel better we have a tendency to think the good feelings are there to stay. We conveniently forget what we had to do to get there. We lose weight and suddenly decide to go eat ice cream to celebrate. Huh? What’s up with that? A friend of mine gave up drinking for a while and repeatedly told me how great she felt during that time. In a recent conversation, over drinks, she told me how much better she felt when she wasn’t drinking?

I hear things like this all the time and I know what to say. I can help people set and achieve goals, I know mobile apps they can use to help them, I’ve read countless books, articles and taken classes on motivation. Yet, I’m overworked, not getting enough rest, not making enough money, not eating as well as I would like, having a hard time with relationships and I’m the coach. I felt so much better before I became a trainer.

That said, I love my job, I love myself, I love my life. If it was easy, everyone would be good at it.

What tip number 2, (take a huge bowel movement every day) means to me is that it’s important to unclog yourself. From childhood we are trained by everyone what’s ok to do, think, eat, wear, play. Spend a little time and watch a young child stand in front of an audience and sing and dance proudly. A lot of us have forgotten how to be a small child yet revel in the joy of watching the song and dance.  Regardless of what you choose to do, don’t forget to sing while you’re doing it. Free yourself from the prison in your mind.

That’s how I’m going to become a better writer.

Moderation is for the uncommitted.

The more I think of it, the more I see the wisdom in it.

Moderation is just “an out” for anyone that wants to do whatever they please NOW and complain about it later. When in fact, NOW is the only time that matters.

What you did yesterday is done. What you will do tomorrow doesn’t matter.

The only thing that will positively impact your achievement of your desired outcome is what you do in the present.

Moderation is a for the uncommitted

Think you can Out Exercise a Bad Diet?

You can’t out exercise a bad diet and there is always room for a little indulgence in a healthy lifestyle.

Let’s not make this more complicated than it is.
This research citation may be of little appeal to some but I am sure someone out there will want a citation so here it is.

PM R. 2012 Nov;4(11):840-4. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2012.09.576.
The role of exercise in the treatment of obesity.
Laskowski ER.
Source
Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center; Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Mayo Clinic, First St. SW, Rochester, MN(⁎). Electronic address: laskowski.edward@mayo.edu.
Abstract
The United States is in the midst of a significant public health problem that relates to obesity and inactivity. This epidemic has far-ranging consequences for our workforce and our children and shows no signs of slowing in the near future. Significant research has been performed on the effects of exercise for the reduction of body weight; results of most studies indicate that exercise alone has a small effect on body-weight reduction independent of caloric restriction. However, when combined with dietary restriction, exercise has a synergistic effect and enhances weight loss beyond the effect of diet alone. In addition, exercise has been shown to have significant beneficial effects on cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors independent of actual weight loss, and losing just a small amount of weight can have a significant beneficial effect on these parameters. Genetic factors related to obesity have been found to be positively modified when persons incorporate physical activity into their lifestyle. Sitting time appears to be an independent risk factor for the development of metabolic risk factors; persons who spend more time sitting and watching television have worse metabolic profiles, even if they achieve the recommended amount of physical activity per week, than do those who move about throughout the day. Exercise also is essential for the prevention of weight gain over a life span, although the amount required to prevent weight gain may be closer to twice the amount of exercise recommended by the current Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (www.health.gov/paguidelines). In many ways, the physiatrist is the most well prepared of all the specialists to address the complex, multidimensional problems of obesity and inactivity.

If this isn’t fairly obvious to you, consider yourself enlightened. I am not a nutritionist so I’ll refrain from pontificating.

Food Basics (the Quick and Dirty)

DO
Aim for half your bodyweight in ounces of water every day. (Seems like a lot but we are mostly water after all.)
Consume a diet rich with a variety of vegetables
Eat unprocessed, lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts, beans
DON’T
Refined grains (basic breads, white rice, crackers, pretzels, and the like)
Trans Fats
Fried Food
Sugar (see above room for indulgence in a healthy lifestyle)

There are a lot of people that have much more strict perspectives on the do’s and don’ts but that is a subject for down the road.

For now think of your current habits and be honest with yourself about how you define “a little indulgence.”